Monday, May 22, 2023

Plans to sink a ship off the coast of North Mayo in order to create an artificial reef are progressing.

The MV Shingle vessel was seized by Gardai and  Customs officers in 2014 when they discovered it was being used in an illegal cigarette smuggling operation.

It was impounded in June 2014 when armed gardai discovered a 4,000kg shipment of tobacco – with a street value of €13million – at Drogheda Port.

The ship was offered free of charge by the Revenue Commission and there is a proposal to scuttle the 60-metre vessel in Killala Bay and create an artificial reef that will bring divers and tourists to the West.

The ship was moored at Dublin Port for a number of years but Cllr Michael Loftus, who is leading the charge for the Killala Bay reef, told the Western People that is has now moved to New Ross for repair works.

Cllr Loftus and others involved in the Killala Bay project are to visit the ship next month to see what further works may be required.

If licencing agreements can be put in place he is hopeful that the boat could be in Killala by next year.

“We are applying for a licence with the Department of Marine to sink it. That will be a slow process,” said Cllr Loftus.

He said additional funding is also required.

“We need about €80,000 for the licence application and we hope Mayo and Sligo County Councils come on board. We have already put in about €25,000 of our own money into it,” said Cllr Loftus.

Cllr Loftus, a member of the Grainne Uaile Sub-Aqua Club, said there is a possibility of towing the ship to Sligo in September ahead of the securing of the necessary licences.

“Once we have the licence in place we could tow it to Killala Bay in March or early next year. That’s of course dependent on everything going well for us.”

It is hoped that the MV Shingle (pictured) will be sunk in Killala Bay as part of a plan for an artificial reef.

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